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July 27, 2021 at 7:00 am · · Comments Off on The Right Equation for Responsible Development: Spotlight on Rock Row Phase 1 Retail Center

The Right Equation for Responsible Development: Spotlight on Rock Row Phase 1 Retail Center

Each year, the Maine Real Estate & Development Association (MEREDA) recognizes some of the state’s most “noteworthy and significant” real estate projects, completed in the previous year. The exemplary projects from across the state, completed in 2020, not only embody MEREDA’s belief in responsible real estate development, but also exemplify best practices in the industry, contributing to Maine’s economic growth by significant investment of resources and job creation statewide.

This year, MEREDA honored projects from Portland to Pittsfield to Bangor, with each receiving special recognition at MEREDA’s 2021 Virtual Spring Conference on May 20th.

In a multi-part series exclusive to the Maine Real Estate Insider, we’ll provide an up-close look at the most notable commercial development projects of the past year that are helping to fuel Maine’s economy in terms of investment and job creation. MEREDA is proud to recognize responsible development based upon criteria including environmental sustainability, economic impact, energy efficiency, difficulty of the development, uniqueness, social impact and job creation.

MEREDA’s 2020 Top 6 recipients include:

Rock Row Phase 1 Retail Center, Waterstone Properties Group (Westbrook)
82 Hanover Street, Port Property Management (Portland)
Hospice of Southern Maine, Zachau Construction / SMRT (Scarborough)
Solterra, Portland Housing Authority (Portland)
One Merchants Plaza, Sky Villa Properties (Bangor)
Puritan Medical COVID –Building Expansion (P2), Puritan Medical Products (Pittsfield)

Please join us this week in celebrating Rock Row, Phase 1 Retail Center.

MEREDA:  Describe the building and project.

Waterstone: Rock Row is unlike any other development in the world. Situated on 110-acres, the $600 million Rock Row development in Greater Portland features more than two million square feet of mixed-use office, medical and research, retail, food hall, restaurants and residential space—all designed around a magnificent, 400-foot-wide natural stone quarry that is filled with water.

When complete, Rock Row will be the second largest retail and mixed-use development in New England. Highlights include:

• 400,000 sq. ft. of Modern Class-A Office Space, including Maine’s first Cross-Laminated-Timber (CLT) Office Tower
• 200,000 sq. ft. Medical & Research Campus anchored by New England Cancer Specialists
• 300,000 sq. ft. of Retail, Dining, Entertainment & Services featuring local, regional and national brands in an open-air, downtown-block shopping district
• 20,000 sq. ft. Food Hall featuring 550 seats, 15 stations, 7 spirit tasting rooms, live music, onsite brews and exciting events
• 20+ Restaurants ranging from cool-casual to chef driven
• 750 Distinctive Studio, One- & Two-Bedroom Residences

With more than six million guests expected to visit Rock Row each year, a key element of the project is Maine’s First CLT Office Tower—a stunning, 200,000 sq. ft., six-floor, cross-laminated-timber tower that promises to be one of the top office location in the Northeast, fueled by Rock Row’s modern mix of amenities and assets that drive talent acquisition and retention.

The tower’s unique CLT attributes promote workplace health and productivity while delivering 66% less energy costs, greater sound absorption/noise cancellation and unobstructed site lines to the quarry via 12’ floor-to-ceiling windows that cascade streams of natural light to nearly every work area.

““It’s not an overstatement to say that 100 Rock Row will be the most innovative, collaborative, and healthiest work environment in all of New England,” said Josh Levy, co-founding principal of Waterstone, the owners and developers of Rock Row. “More than an office address, 100 Rock Row is a business advantage that promotes business success. Bright places spark bright people. Fresh air promotes fresh thinking. Add the unobstructed quarry views, unmatched amenities and thought-sharing events at Rock Row and you get a place that people want to be at long after the workday is done.”

Another top attraction at Rock Row will be Maine’s Largest Meeting & Convention Center—an 8,200-person capacity, state-of-the-art venue that’s sub-dividable to host more than 200 public and private events year round, including performances from A-list artists through a partnership with LiveNation.

MEREDA:  What was the impetus for this project?  

Waterstone:  While factors like location and market-need certainly came into play, the quarry was an impetus for the project.

When Waterstone purchased the former quarry in 2017, it was being permitted for a big-box retail store by developers. Completing that process and taking “the easy route” was never an option for Waterstone. It was quickly determined that the natural features of the quarry should be leveraged to create a gathering place for all that was exciting and memorable; a destination that would make a positive impact on the lives of everyone who live, work, shop and visit in the region.

MEREDA:  That sounds like quite a process.  How long were you in the planning stages before construction started?

Waterstone: Unlike most developments where you get approval and build, this is a dynamic project that is unfolding in multiple phases. While that in itself poses challenges, it also offers great opportunities. For example, an area that was originally targeted for office and residential turned out to be the perfect location for the integrated Medical & Research Campus that is starting construction this fall. The City of Westbrook could not be better to work with as we navigate through the development design. We work with the mayor and city leaders very closely and have a tremendous amount of respect for the project, and each other.

MEREDA:  Tell us about the most challenging aspect of getting this project completed.

Waterstone: Having more than two-million square feet of mixed-use space available at Rock Row, we are absolutely obsessed with using each square foot the right way and fitting each square foot with the right tenant. Our goal isn’t to fill space, but to create amazing, unexpected and ongoing experiences at every turn. We want this to be an extension and elevation of life for all who work, live, shop and play here. So far, our efforts are paying off.

Phase One of Rock Row, which is community-retail focused, started in 2017and is nearing completion. This phase is reaching 100% lease capacity with tenants that include an 80,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art Market Basket supermarket (open), REI, Firehouse Subs, Big Fin Poke, The Paper Store (open), Chase (under construction), Chick-fil-A and Starbucks.

Other announced Rock Row tenants include a 122-room boutique Element Hotel by Westin, 12-screen Cinemark Theater, LIVE NATION Maine Savings Pavilion (open) and the previously-mentioned 200,000 sq. ft. fully-integrated Rock Row Medical & Research Campus, anchored by renowned New England Cancer Specialists/Dana Farber Cancer Institute (scheduled opening in late 2023).

MEREDA:  Something unexpected you learned along the way was….

Waterstone: From a community standpoint, we are continually amazed at how excited people are about Rock Row. Many of our social media posts have received several thousand likes and we are constantly fielding questions of interest, such as “when is REI opening” and “how much office space is available in the CLT tower”. Seeing our community get excited about Rock Row is something that excites us.

From a development standpoint, we discovered that Maine offers so much more than lobster rolls and natural beauty. This is a state that fosters innovative companies and breakthrough thinkers and has a rich history of leadership in commerce and industry. With more residents, workers and businesses leaving big cities and embracing the beauty and lifestyle of Maine, Maine is poised to flourish as an emerging business hub.

As Maine’s premier Innovation District, Rock Row will play a key role in supporting the state’s focus on emerging industries and economic growth by creating a supportive environment that helps people and businesses grow and succeed in every way. Rock Row’s rich mix of physical and networking assets—from educational events that spark growth and innovation, to public gathering spaces that invite collaboration—will combine to create a 24/7 community full of ideas, creativity, risk taking and enriched living. Rock Row will be the shining model of Maine’s new outreach as a “State of Innovation”.

MEREDA:  Now that it’s complete, what feature of the project do you think makes it the most notable? 

Waterstone:  We like to say there is “discovery at every turn” at Rock Row, so it’s hard to choose one notable element of the two-million-plus-square-feet development. Certainly, the quarry will be the most notable and memorable physical feature. Beyond the jaw-dropping “‘wow” of looking at it, guests will come from far and near to see the light and laser quarry spectacular that will be similar in quality to Super Bowl and Olympic ceremonies.

What’s also notable is the human energy that Rock Row sparks. This is a destination that excites all senses and invites interaction, from passively looking at art to more actively climbing rock walls. All lines between work, life, learning and play will be blurred at Rock Row, intentionally. People will come here to drop kids off at day care in the morning…work during the day…interact with colleagues at a sponsored event…shop during lunch…go to a restaurant after work…attend a concert on the weekend…bring the kids to skate or go sailing on the quarry…and so much more.

Our hope is that everyone will have a favorite element of Rock Row that will change from season to season. We want people to connect with each other, and with nature at Rock Row in a way that makes life fuller and better. That’s a big task, we know. But we want every member of the family to always want to be at Rock Row. And to think there’s no place in the world like Rock Row.

Visit www.rockrow.com for more information.

 

July 20, 2021 at 11:00 am · · Comments Off on Maine Real Estate & Development Association (MEREDA) Re-Elects Brian Curley to its Board of Directors

Maine Real Estate & Development Association (MEREDA) Re-Elects Brian Curley to its Board of Directors

PORTLAND, July 20, 2021 – Brian Curley, AIA, LEED AP, of Portland, and Senior Vice President, Business Practice Leader, Architectural & Structural, of CHA Consulting, Inc. (CHA) has been re-elected to the board of directors of the Maine Real Estate & Development Association (MEREDA), a statewide organization of commercial real estate owners, developers and related service providers.

MEREDA is pleased to announce that longtime member Brian Curley, has been re-elected to its board of directors after a 2-year hiatus. Brian first joined the board in 2011 and served as a vice president, co-chair of the Conference Committee, as well as a member of its Executive Committee. Brian was twice recognized with MEREDA’s President’s Award in both 2014 & 2016.

Brian has more than 35 years of architectural experience specializing in corporate and interiors projects for colleges/universities, historic structures, housing, retail, and corporate offices. Brian has a special interest in historic preservation and expertise in complicated renovation/reuse projects that bring new life and energy efficiency to historic buildings. His expertise ranges from space planning and interior fit-ups to historic renovation and new office construction. Brian also works with CHA’s interior designers on corporate offices, renovations, and furnishings packages. His housing experience includes new and renovated multi-family housing of all types.

“We are ecstatic that Brian has accepted our invitation to return to the MEREDA board,” says Shelly R. Clark, Vice President of Operations for MEREDA. “Brian’s expertise, industry knowledge, and enthusiasm for MEREDA’s mission makes him a great addition once again”!

 

July 19, 2021 at 2:30 pm · · Comments Off on MEREDA’s First In-Person Event in 16 Months is Scheduled for September 14!

MEREDA’s First In-Person Event in 16 Months is Scheduled for September 14!

MEREDA’s Morning Menu Breakfast Event – Southern Maine Development Trends: If you Build it, Will They Come?

Make plans to join us in person on September 14, 2021 at the Holiday Inn By the Bay in Portland as we discuss recent and changing development trends for commercial and multi-family housing in York County with developers Tom Watson of Port Property Development and Amy Cullen of The Szanton Company.

About the Event:

Where:
Holiday Inn By the Bay
88 Spring Street
Portland, ME

When:
September 14, 2021

Time:
Breakfast: 7:30 – 8:00 AM
Program: 8:00 – 9:00 AM

Registering for this Event:
Members: $45 each | Non-Members: $55 each
Prices increase by $10 after September 7

Your RSVP is requested by September 7. Payment is expected at the time of registration. No refunds will be granted to anyone who registers, but fails to attend or who cancels after September 7.

For more information and to register, click here.

MEREDA’s Morning Menu Breakfast Series is Sponsored by Norway Savings Bank

 

July 6, 2021 at 7:00 am · · Comments Off on The Right Equation for Responsible Development: Spotlight on Hospice of Southern Maine

The Right Equation for Responsible Development: Spotlight on Hospice of Southern Maine

Each year, the Maine Real Estate & Development Association (MEREDA) recognizes some of the state’s most “noteworthy and significant” real estate projects, completed in the previous year. The exemplary projects from across the state, completed in 2020, not only embody MEREDA’s belief in responsible real estate development, but also exemplify best practices in the industry, contributing to Maine’s economic growth by significant investment of resources and job creation statewide.

This year, MEREDA honored projects from Portland to Pittsfield to Bangor, with each receiving special recognition at MEREDA’s 2021 Virtual Spring Conference on May 20th.

In a multi-part series exclusive to the Maine Real Estate Insider, we’ll provide an up-close look at the most notable commercial development projects of the past year that are helping to fuel Maine’s economy in terms of investment and job creation. MEREDA is proud to recognize responsible development based upon criteria including environmental sustainability, economic impact, energy efficiency, difficulty of the development, uniqueness, social impact and job creation.

MEREDA’s 2020 Top 6 recipients include:

82 Hanover Street, Port Property Management (Portland)
Hospice of Southern Maine, Zachau Construction / SMRT (Scarborough)
Rock Row Phase 1 Retail Center, Waterstone Properties Group (Westbrook)
Solterra, Portland Housing Authority (Portland)
One Merchants Plaza, Sky Villa Properties (Bangor)
Puritan Medical COVID –Building Expansion (P2), Puritan Medical Products (Pittsfield)

Please join us this week in celebrating Hospice of Southern Maine.

MEREDA:  Describe the building and project.

Zachau Construction / SMRT:  The nonprofit organization Hospice of Southern Maine headquarters is a $6.75 Million, 14,500 SF building built by construction management company, Zachau Construction, and designed by SMRT Architects and Engineers, Portland-based architecture firm. The building is home to the HSM corporate and clinical teams, as well as, a location for training stimulations, grieving services, and a large community room for gatherings and education. Over 600 donors came together to raise the funds for the capital campaign of $6.6 Million to date. Previously located on Route 1 in Scarborough, this new location provides an energy-efficient facility designed to reduce Hospice of Southern Maine’s energy costs by approximately 96%, which creates a full return on their investment within 18 years.

MEREDA:  What was the impetus for this project?  

Zachau Construction / SMRT:  The mission of Hospice of Southern Maine is to provide compassion, care and comfort through the end of life. The nature of their programming, people who have terminal illness and wanting to have good quality of life towards the end creates a positive social impact on the communities and families they serve. This new building provides a location for their teams to gather, work together, grieve, train and organize to fulfill this mission. A notable feature in the building is a training room with two-way glass, providing a location for the team to learn and grow their skills in end-of-life care.

MEREDA:  That sounds like quite a process.  How long were you in the planning stages before construction started?

Zachau Construction / SMRT:  Almost 2.5 years of planning

MEREDA:  Tell us about the most challenging aspect of getting this project completed.

Zachau Construction / SMRT:  The project provided a unique opportunity to blend a welcoming, home-inspired environment for visitors in conjunction with an open, contemporary office space for their employees.  This was achieved by using building forms and materials that reflect the warmth and simplicity found in Maine and the weaving of colors and textures throughout the interior that soothe and comfort.

MEREDA:  Something unexpected you learned along the way was….

Zachau Construction / SMRT:  How to deliver a project during a pandemic. When we began this project, we couldn’t have anticipated what the last few months of building would entail for this project. The pandemic created challenges in delivery of materials and the workflow within the building. Despite the challenges, we were able to complete the project on time.

MEREDA:  Now that it’s complete, what feature of the project do you think makes it the most notable? 

Zachau Construction / SMRT:  The building utilizes solar and geothermal systems to supply 100% of the building’s energy needs with clean energy and will dramatically lower CO2 emissions. The building is predicted to be net positive and will transfer additional power produced by the PV panels to the Hospice of Southern Maine Gosnell Memorial House. By creating a building that is 100% self-sustaining, Hospice of Southern Maine, a non-profit organization, will be able to use its donations towards programs and staff instead of office facility overhead. The size and layout of the building also allow for the organization to expand its reach and ability to serve more families.

June 17, 2021 at 3:23 pm · · Comments Off on Maine Real Estate & Development Association (MEREDA) Elects Benjamin Brennan to Board of Directors

Maine Real Estate & Development Association (MEREDA) Elects Benjamin Brennan to Board of Directors

PORTLAND, Maine (June 17, 2021) Benjamin Brennan of Portland, and Sales Executive for KONE Elevators has been elected to the board of directors of the Maine Real Estate & Development Association (MEREDA), a statewide organization of commercial real estate owners, developers and related service providers.

An active member of MEREDA, Ben serves on its Local Issues Committee and most recently took a leading role as co-chair of its DevelopME Committee, working to engage the membership and create professional development opportunities within MEREDA for the next generation of industry professionals.

As a Sales Executive for KONE Elevators, located in Westbrook, ME, Ben is responsible for new equipment business development & project management and partners with stakeholders of new and existing real estate developments.   From providing AIA continuing education, design assistance and pre-construction services to ensuring smooth transition through all stages of project execution, Ben is involved throughout a project’s life cycle.

A graduate of the University of Maine, Ben was hired in 2013 by KONE to deliver energy efficient elevator solutions to the Northern New England market.  As a green energy advocate, Ben’s interests lie in finding a medium between green technology & affordability.

“We’ve seen Ben become really engaged in a short amount of time, and are impressed by his can-do attitude and interest in MEREDA’s initiatives,” says Shelly R. Clark, Vice President of Operations for MEREDA.   “We welcome Ben’s enthusiasm and look forward to his active participation in furthering MEREDA’s mission of promoting responsible real estate development throughout Maine”.

For further information, please contact MEREDA’s Vice President of Operations, Shelly R. Clark at 207-874-0801.

June 15, 2021 at 8:00 am · · Comments Off on The Right Equation for Responsible Development: Spotlight on 82 Hanover Street

The Right Equation for Responsible Development: Spotlight on 82 Hanover Street

Each year, the Maine Real Estate & Development Association (MEREDA) recognizes some of the state’s most “noteworthy and significant” real estate projects, completed in the previous year. The exemplary projects from across the state, completed in 2020, not only embody MEREDA’s belief in responsible real estate development, but also exemplify best practices in the industry, contributing to Maine’s economic growth by significant investment of resources and job creation statewide.

This year, MEREDA honored projects from Portland to Pittsfield to Bangor, with each receiving special recognition at MEREDA’s 2021 Virtual Spring Conference on May 20th.

In a multi-part series exclusive to the Maine Real Estate Insider, we’ll provide an up-close look at the most notable commercial development projects of the past year that are helping to fuel Maine’s economy in terms of investment and job creation. MEREDA is proud to recognize responsible development based upon criteria including environmental sustainability, economic impact, energy efficiency, difficulty of the development, uniqueness, social impact and job creation.

MEREDA’s 2020 Top 6 recipients include:

82 Hanover Street, Port Property Management (Portland)
Rock Row Phase 1 Retail Center, Waterstone Properties Group (Westbrook)
Hospice of Southern Maine, Zachau Construction / SMRT (Scarborough)
Solterra, Portland Housing Authority (Portland)
One Merchants Plaza, Sky Villa Properties (Bangor)
Puritan Medical COVID –Building Expansion (P2), Puritan Medical Products (Pittsfield)

Please join us this week in celebrating 82 Hanover Street.

MEREDA:  Describe the building and project.

Port Property Management:  82 Hanover is a mixed-use commercial building located in the West Bayside neighborhood of downtown Portland. Designed to offer a lively community hub for existing residents and incoming neighbors, 82 Hanover combines local history and modern innovation in the form of a multi-use redevelopment. Through a collaboration with the City of Portland Planning and Public Works staff, residents, and other stakeholders, 82 Hanover is an urban destination built to serve the local neighborhood and foster community engagement.

The surrounding area has historically served as an industrial and municipal area of the Portland peninsula with little to offer for residents. With several nearby buildings and vacant lots being redeveloped into housing (we are currently developing 170 residential units directly adjacent to the site), 82 Hanover provides crucial infrastructure and employment opportunities to help sustain the new housing stock and the growing community of West Bayside.

MEREDA:  What was the impetus for this project?  

Port Property Management: Recognizing that current and future residential projects continue to infill West Bayside, 82 Hanover offers a purposeful solution for local businesses and residents. For years to come, 82 Hanover will continue to offer goods, services, and employment opportunities – playing an integral role in strengthening and connecting the neighborhood.

Another central theme of this project was to celebrate the transformation of old to new while respecting the site’s character and integrity. This project transformed a former industrial Public Works building into a vibrant destination without compromising sustainability or environmental considerations. A critical piece of the project included environmental permitting, engineering, management, and remediation. The restoration of the existing building greatly reduced the need for generation and transportation of new building materials, while the design utilized several methods to raise the floor elevation providing resiliency to sea level rise.

Through a collaborative relationship between stakeholders and community members, 82 Hanover represents a shared, workable vision of the future that simultaneously creates economic vitality and honors local history.

MEREDA:  That sounds like quite a process.  How long were you in the planning stages before construction started?

Port Property Management:  The planning phase took about four years. We successfully bid on and purchased 82 Hanover from the City of Portland as part of their decision to sell six parcels when Public Works moved out of West Bayside. Following permitting and construction, 82 Hanover was fully leased by November 2019. Some of our earliest tenants included Wilson County Barbeque, Cyclebar, Fortune Teller Tattoo, and Banded Brewing.

MEREDA:  Tell us about the most challenging aspect of getting this project completed.

Port Property Management:  As 82 Hanover was renovated from a dilapidated building, no stone could be left unturned. Given the site historically served as a Public Works maintenance garage, the site housed storage tanks containing hydrocarbons prone to leaks, lead paint, and other contaminant issues. Following environmental site assessments, a sub-slab depressurization system was installed under the new concrete floor and two 20,000 gallons fuel station tanks were removed. One specific hurdle we overcame during the process was elevating the entire first floor of the building. The finished floor was raised from an existing elevation of 12’ to 13’ – this extra foot was critical in providing the building with a level of freeboard in a low-lying neighborhood (which is prone to flooding during King Tides and/or intense rain events). This resiliency technique was successfully applied to the existing building all while maintaining ADA accessibility for all 12 commercial tenants.

MEREDA:  Something unexpected you learned along the way was….

Port Property Management: The enduring demand for community spaces and shared outdoor environments. Although this demand was not entirely unexpected, the speed at which we filled the 43,000 sq ft space was. 82 Hanover was fully leased in just a little over a year, which speaks to the growth potential and vibrancy of West Bayside. While the pandemic put a temporary pause on activity, local patrons and tenants are eager to safely return to the feeling of camaraderie that 82 Hanover provides. There’s a strong pull from community members to reconnect through public spaces, especially outdoor spaces.

With this in mind, 82 Hanover includes a large courtyard utilized by brewpubs, restaurants, bars, and a public bicycle/pedestrian easement. The presence on the block and surrounding neighborhood has been brought back to life with increased foot traffic and activity created by this space. Eventually, the plaza will achieve a total width of 70’, resulting in an outdoor destination that will undoubtedly become the hub of West Bayside.

MEREDA:  Now that it’s complete, what feature of the project do you think makes it the most notable? 

Port Property Management:  82 Hanover stands out in its dedication to preservation and thoughtful restoration. Prioritizing authenticity and sustainability was a focus throughout the entire project. Rather than scrapping the existing building, 82 Hanover was renovated and restored to maintain its unique historic charm. Also, in order to adapt to a changing climate while maintaining the building’s character, mechanical systems were updated, single pane windows were replaced with insulated replica windows, and insulation was added whenever possible for enhanced sustainability and low-energy costs. The project gives nod to Maine’s industrial age and work ethic on both the interior and exterior; brick facades and interior units celebrate the “modern industrial” revamp with high ceilings and exposed beams. 82 Hanover looks and feels like a fundamental staple of West Bayside, which is a testament to its focus on the local community and how successfully the project supports the surrounding neighborhood.

June 14, 2021 at 10:00 am · · Comments Off on MEREDA’s Virtual Trivia Night Fundraising Event to Fund Eight $1250 Scholarships for Maine Students

MEREDA’s Virtual Trivia Night Fundraising Event to Fund Eight $1250 Scholarships for Maine Students

PORTLAND, June 14, 2021 – Although the Maine Real Estate & Development Association (MEREDA) wasn’t able to host its “Strikes for Scholars” Bowl-a-Thon Fundraising Event again this year due to the pandemic, we instead opted for a Virtual Trivia Night and our members turned out once again to support the students!  The event consisted of 3 rounds of questions from Current Events to Pop Culture, to a “Name that Tune” category, followed by team networking. Prizes were awarded to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Place winners.

We are pleased to announce that MEREDA will be providing 7 $1250 scholarships to the Maine Community College System (MCCS), as well as 1 $1250 scholarship to the College of Science, Technology & Health at the University of Southern Maine. Thank you, MEREDA Members!

MEREDA began its scholarship program for students in the building trades and professions 9 years ago and has continued to grow and support the program. Since the fundraiser’s inception, MEREDA is proud to have raised and donated over $133,000 in scholarships helping over 103 Maine students.

Many thanks to our Sponsors AAA Energy Service Co., Bangor Savings Bank, & Machias Savings Bank, as well as to our twenty trivia teams!! Without their involvement, these substantial donations would not be possible.

June 8, 2021 at 8:00 am · · Comments Off on MEREDA Awards Top 6 Notable Projects of 2020

MEREDA Awards Top 6 Notable Projects of 2020

The Maine Real Estate & Development Association (MEREDA), the state’s leading organization promoting responsible real estate development, honored projects from Portland to Pittsfield to Bangor, with each receiving special recognition at MEREDA’s 2021 Virtual Spring Conference on May 20th.

Each year, MEREDA recognizes some of the state’s most “noteworthy and significant” real estate projects, completed in the previous year.  The exemplary projects from across the state, completed in 2020, not only embody MEREDA’s belief in responsible real estate development, but also exemplify best practices in the industry, contributing to Maine’s economic growth by significant investment of resources and job creation statewide.

Each of the six projects was selected in part based upon criteria including: noteworthy and significant project completed* in 2020 (*Building Occupancy Permit issued by 12 31 20), environmental sustainability, economic impact, energy efficiency, social impact, uniqueness, difficulty of development and job creation.

The recipients of MEREDA’s Top 6 Most Notable Projects of 2020 include:

  • Rock Row Phase 1 Retail Center, Waterstone Properties Group (Westbrook) for envisioning a 110-acre signature mixed-use development centered around a 400-foot wide, 300-foot-deep quarry.  As envisioned, Rock Row will attract more than 6 million guests a year from across the globe —with destination retail, chef-driven dining, inviting workspaces, modern residences, world-class healthcare, hip hotels, diverse entertainment and more.  The crown jewel of Rock Row is the 26-acre Quarry, featuring a picturesque boardwalk, connected to more than 70 miles of hiking and biking trails. 
  • 82 Hanover Street, Port Property Management (Portland) for the redevelopment of the Public Works facility, restoring an existing historic structure while also helping revitalize a neighborhood. Once dominated by industrial buildings and vacant lots, this project turned a dilapidated property into a vibrant urban destination. 
  • Hospice of Southern Maine, Zachau Construction / SMRT (Scarborough) for creating a 100% self-sustaining building to house the HSM corporate and clinical teams, as well as, a location for training simulations, grieving services, and a large community room.  Designed to reduce their energy costs by approximately 96%, over 600 donors came together to raise $6.6 Million to date, which will go towards programs and staff instead of office facility overhead. 
  • Solterra, Portland Housing Authority (Portland) for designing 58 Boyd Street in East Bayside, a mixed-income, six-story building featuring 23 efficiency, ten (10) one-bedroom, thirteen (13) two-bedroom and nine (9) three-bedroom apartments as well as a community space.  Solterra was designed to accommodate the local community’s social, physical and environmental needs, with accessibility, quality of life, durability and environmental sustainability as keystones to the design process. 
  • One Merchants Plaza, Sky Villa Properties (Bangor) for having the vision to bring the 49-year-old, all concrete building (first of its kind in Bangor), back to life, revitalizing an area that desperately needed businesses for community growth. With an investment of approximately $2.2 million, the renovations created a space that utilized updated technology to provide tenants with a sustainable and energy efficient place for years to come.  The renovation of One Merchants Plaza has been one piece in a larger, ongoing process of revitalizing the business district in downtown Bangor.
  • Puritan Medical COVID –Building Expansion (P2), Puritan Medical Products (Pittsfield) for converting a portion of a vacant mill building into a state-of-the-art medical device manufacturing facility in less than 10 weeks. The 48,500 square feet of renovated space now produces medical grade foam-tipped swabs for COVID-19 testing.  Puritan’s greatly increased manufacturing capacity – an additional 90 million swabs per month – has enabled an exponential increase in COVID-19 testing in America and beyond.

MEREDA congratulates its 2020 Notable Project Award Recipients and thanks its Membership for their continued commitment to responsible development in Maine.  Each project will be recognized with its own article in the Maine Real Estate Insider e-newsletter published by Mainebiz, running Summer of 2021.

For further information, please contact MEREDA’s Vice President of Operations, Shelly R. Clark at info@mereda.org.

Top Row: Rock Row Phase 1 Retail Center, Waterstone Properties Group (Westbrook), 82 Hanover Street, Port Property Management (Portland), Hospice of Southern Maine, Zachau Construction / SMRT (Scarborough) Bottom Row: Solterra, Portland Housing Authority (Portland), One Merchants Plaza, Sky Villa Properties (Bangor), Puritan Medical COVID –Building Expansion (P2), Puritan Medical Products (Pittsfield)

 

 

June 1, 2021 at 8:00 am · · Comments Off on MEREDA Index Provides Dynamic Data & Perspectives of a Historic Year

MEREDA Index Provides Dynamic Data & Perspectives of a Historic Year

Over 230 real estate insiders registered to gather virtually for the Maine Real Estate & Development Association’s (MEREDA) Spring Conference on May 20th. As part of the Conference, MEREDA released its 15th edition of the MEREDA Index, a key economic indicator for the state of Maine. While the Index saw a dip during the first half of the year as the economy began its sharp decline related to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Index shot upward in the second half of the year, resulting in an overall increase of 2.8% over the annual average of 2019. Beyond the data, the individual components of the Index—commercial, residential, and construction—help paint a fuller picture of a historic year in Maine real estate.

“To say 2020 was a year like no other is an understatement, and when we zoom in on the Maine real estate market we see a truly remarkable year,” says Josh Fifield, MEREDA President. “We have all been watching as the residential market rocketed off the charts. We all felt the impact of vacant office and retail spaces in our communities, and we saw new construction projects forge ahead with increased demand. This is the story the 2021 MEREDA Index tells,” continues Fifield.

The MEREDA Index is a measure of real estate activity designed to track changes in Maine’s real estate markets. The Index is a composite of nine seasonally adjusted measures reflecting both new development and transactions involving existing properties and it covers both the commercial and residential markets statewide. This most recent edition covers the year 2020.

The MEREDA Index was tabulated by economist Dr. Charles Colgan with commentary from Cheri Bonawitz of Malone Commercial Brokers, Joe Dasco of Reger Dasco Properties, and Drew Sigfridson of The Boulos Company.

“The MEREDA Index is one of the best baseline measures for the health of the real estate market in Maine,” says Matt Worthen of Eaton Peabody, Index underwriter. “When you combine economic analysis from an expert economist like Dr. Charles Colgan with the ‘feet on the street’ perspective of local industry leaders, you have a keystone report for MEREDA members, their thousands of employees, and for Maine’s economy at large,” Worthen continues.

This edition of the MEREDA Index was underwritten by Eaton Peabody, with support from Katahdin Trust Company, and XPress Copy.

To download a copy of the report or watch a video about the MEREDA Index, click here.

 

May 25, 2021 at 8:07 am · · Comments Off on From a Record-Breaking Residential Market to a Rebounding Commercial Market – MEREDA Spring Conference Examines the Health of Maine Real Estate

From a Record-Breaking Residential Market to a Rebounding Commercial Market – MEREDA Spring Conference Examines the Health of Maine Real Estate

On Thursday, May 20th, the Maine Real Estate & Development Association (MEREDA) hosted its virtual Spring Conference. As we head into summer amidst record-breaking residential real estate sales, a robust construction sector, and a commercial sector poised to rebound, the MEREDA event provided an opportunity to reflect on a historic year and to look ahead at Maine’s economic future. MEREDA is committed to promoting responsible development across the state and providing forums for its members to engage and learn about opportunities in the state. As part of the conference, MEREDA unveiled its 2021 Index, hosted a panel discussion with Index contributors and Dr. Charles Colgan, and recognized its 2020 Notable Projects recipients, with Craig Young of The Boulos Company and Shannon Richards of Hay Runner acting as event hosts.

“MEREDA and its members are looking ahead as we march into the second half of 2021. Our Spring Conference gave us an occasion to reflect on 2020 – a singular year in Maine real estate – and discuss what opportunities lay ahead for our economy,” says Josh Fifield, MEREDA President. “We brought together Dr. Colgan and our Index contributors to help us bring the story of 2020 forward. Where do they see the real estate economy heading? It was an important and timely conversation for not just MEREDA members, but everyone who is interested in seeing Maine thrive.”

The conference first presented the 2021 Index data live, with economic data and analysis from Dr. Colgan, Director of Research at the Center for the Blue Economy at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey and Professor Emeritus of Public Policy & Planning in the Muskie School of Public Service, as well as commentary on the commercial market from Cheri Bonawitz of Malone Commercial Brokers, insight into the residential market from Joe Dasco of Reger Dasco Properties, and a perspective on the construction sector from Drew Sigfridson of The Boulos Company.

Overall, in 2020 the Maine real estate sector did well, while the economy as a whole contracted faster than during the Great Recession. Residential real estate was a headline story throughout 2020 and one of the few bright spots in the economy during the pandemic. Whereas the activity in the commercial market and construction sector painted a more complex picture and raised lots of questions on how the market will continue to develop in the years ahead. Speaking on the commercial sector Dr. Colgan commented, “Can a world in which no one goes to the office or stores still be a world where commercial real estate is sold? The answer is – yes, it can.” Despite early declines in 2020, the commercial market remained vibrant in Maine and has already shown signs of recovery. Turning to the construction market, Drew Sigfridson summed up a major uncertainty: the changing cost of materials. “When you see a 30% increase in the price of steel over three months, it’s impossible to predict costs and develop a budget,” shared Sigfridson.

Building upon the insights on 2020 that commentators shared individually, the event concluded with a panel discussion. Craig Young and Shannon Richards helped guide the conversation forward and asked the commentators to share their thoughts on how the real estate market will evolve in 2021 and beyond.

Joe Dasco spoke on his experience developing Hobson’s Landing in Portland where the increased consumer demand for amenities drove creative and innovative uses of space. Dasco also commented on the impact of the 2020 Portland referendums, stating that his firm wouldn’t be able to make a project like Hobson’s Landing work today with the new onerous regulations in place. With those new limitations restricting Portland development, the panel were all curious to see how the surrounding communities in southern Maine would now benefit and capitalize on the increased demand for housing.

Cheri Bonawitz offered her perspective on the future of the retail market, stating that while many people are used to ordering products online, there are still a lot of shops that people want to visit downtown, and her firm is already seeing vacant restaurant spaces in the Old Port fill back up. Dr. Colgan expanded the commercial sector discussion by adding that there is an unprecedented amount of suppressed demand for travel that will certainly create a boom in Maine’s hospitality industry in the coming years before it comes back on trend. Following the devastation of 2020, this will surely be a welcome surge of activity for hotels and restaurants across the state.

The pandemic also radically transformed the world of work and the big question of the future of the office was another topic discussed. Dr. Colgan noted that now that the technology exists and will be expanding to rural areas, the sociological question of how and where we work will continue to play out over the next decade. Sigfridson shared how his own team has returned to the office, stating, “We find collaboration and being able to be with our team makes a difference.”

To sum things up, Dr. Colgan shared his perspective on the future of the Maine economy this way: “I’m generally optimistic, but I have some really nagging questions.” It’s true that with Maine’s robust residential market, rebounding commercial market, and the increased demand for construction there is a lot to look forward to in Maine real estate. But MEREDA and its members will be here to continue to ask those nagging questions and be a part of the solutions as Maine strives to build its future in a responsible way.